Special to the Record
The young Patricia Cano could not have known that one day she would graduate from singing around campfires in northern Ontario to making music her career.
Dancing and theatre experience led the Sudbury girl to Cree playwright and composer Tomson Highway, “who asked me to perform songs of his in cabaret form,” Cano said in an interview.
“That was my very early-20s and that’s how music and singing started to take an important place in my life and my professional career,” added Cano, who will perform March 11 at the Sid Williams Theatre.
She chatted during a break from rehearsing The (Post) Mistress, a one-person Tomson Highway cabaret-style musical at the Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver.
Her theatre training can show up in her singing performances, said Cano.
“For the transformation to different songs, a different emotion, a different story, there is some form of theatrical transformation that happens with each song. All the training informs your performance, right? It certainly gives me a good foundation on which to … perform.”
Although Cano’s ancestry is Peruvian, there is a pronounced Brazilian feel to much of her music, including her 2009 album This Is the New World.
After four years in France with the Paris-based Le Théâtre du Soleil, Cano spent seven months in Rio de Janeiro.
“The culture just had a huge effect on me. It informed me, and it seeped into my veins and my blood.”
Her music was subsequently influenced by her collaboration with Brazilian guitarist Carlos Bernardo.
“Certainly Carlos played a role in that. It (Brazilian music) informs how he writes, how he composes and how he helps bring my own compositions to life.”
Cano draws on a variety of influences such as Spanish literature, Korean singing and Brazil’s Carioca music scene as well as diverse musical genres that include jazz, blues, South American folk, samba and Afro-Peruvian rhythms.
Distilling and blending various influences “hasn’t been a pressing or overwhelming challenge.”
This is clearly a performer whose ears and heart are open to different inspirations. And she’s versatile, singing in English, French and Spanish.
One of her greatest musical thrills was performing songs from This Is the New World in Lima, Peru in 2010.
“To this day that was one of the highlights of my life. I had never performed in Peru for my family in any way. I had never been able to share that part of my life with my family.
“It was just such a success. The Jazz Club of Lima was packed to the rim … to boot, a week later the album got a review in the Peruvian national newspaper.”
When she performs in the Comox Valley, Cano will include songs from her album as well as tunes she plans to record on her second album.
She will be accompanied by Bernardo, fellow guitarist Kevin Barrett and “exceptional percussionist” Mario Allende.
Also including stops in Kitimat, Terrace and Burns Lake on this West Coast tour, Cano admits she will visit these communities and the Comox Valley for the first time.
Patricia Cano performs March 11 at the Sid Williams Theatre as part of the Sid’s Blue Circle Series. For details and tickets, visit www.sidwilliamstheatere.com, phone 250-338-2430 or visit the Sid box office at 442 Cliffe Ave.